The American church seems to be both blessed and cursed by it’s historical and cultural heritage. We are blessed to have grown in a country that was founded upon religious freedom and with a heritage that has been largely Christian in nature. However, our nation’s history of freedom and independence has also been a source of temptation for even the church to be self-centered. These days, our independent nature as Americans has encouraged us to become selfish Christians, thinking that our greatest concerns should be our individual relationship with Jesus.
Paul warned of this in Philippians 2:1-4: “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” While each Christian recognizes the blessings God gives individuals through Christ, Paul wrote that this should lead individuals to look out for each other.
If we have learned anything from the Easter Experience sermons, videos, and small groups, it should be that we have all experienced separation from God and that we all have the same opportunity for individual transformation through Jesus. But it is our common past and our common transformation that should lead us all to share a common interest in each other.
While the world continues to tempt us to look out for ourselves, our transformation through Jesus should lead us to look out for each other. Our shared faith should lead us to shared encouragement, comfort, fellowship, tenderness, and compassion, as verse one reminds us. These shared blessings should lead us, together, to like-minded actions based in love and humility. These are the things that distinguish the church from the rest of the world.